Friday, July 3, 2020

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020): Musical comedy about Iceland's entry in European contest. More musical and better comedy please. Like a too long SNL sketch. Will Ferrell is miscast. Too old. The accents grate. The movie laughs at Iceland, not with it. C+

Thursday, July 2, 2020

POTD: Continuing Education in Egypt

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Oriental Carpet School near the step pyramid of Saqqara outside modern Cairo.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Europe Erects Wall to Keep Out Americans

According to The New York Times, "E.U. Formalizes Reopening, Barring Travelers From U.S. The bloc will allow visitors from 15 countries, but the United States, Brazil and Russia were among the notable absences from the safe list."

It's fitting in more ways than the obvious one.

Random Thoughts: I Never Had a Black Teacher

Tweets from June, 2020:
  • 2020-06-01: Wow. I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember *ever* having a black teacher. And being blithely unaware of that fact until just now. :-(
  • 2020-06-01: Irony. Many of the 2A crowd who insist on arming themselves to defend liberty from government oppression are now calling on that same government to impose martial law to put down protests against the government.
  • 2020-06-01: I admit, when Trump was elected, I feared he would start a war, but I never would have guessed the war would be against American citizens in our own country.
  • 2020-06-01: Trump is still pissed he didn't get his military parade in Washington, DC.

After the jump, more random thoughts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Living in Exhilarating Times

2020 will go down in history as a pivotal time in American history, along with 1968, 1929, 1860, and 1776. The year has already seen a presidential impeachment, the coronavirus pandemic, economic collapse, and widespread demands for racial justice. All that in just the first half of the year. Still to come is a presidential election that will determine whether our nation survives as a democratic republic. We are witnessing history.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Hail, Caesar (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes
Hail, Caesar (2016): Farce about a 1950s Hollywood problem fixer. The Coen Brothers' homage to Ben Hur, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly, Gene Autry, and more. Add subplots with Hedda Hopper and Communist screenwriters, and the whole is a game of spot-the-references. B-


Sunday, June 28, 2020

LBJ's Civil Rights Grade

President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, thus doing more for civil rights in this country than any President since Abraham Lincoln. Still, the country erupted in violent protests against police brutality in the summers of 1967 and 1968. What went wrong? Maybe it was the unrealistic expectations that racism could be solved with a stroke of a pen. LBJ understood that progress is made in fits and starts.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Review: The Nickel Boys

From The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead:

Open quoteThe discovery of the bodies was an expensive complication for the real estate company awaiting the all clear from the environmental study, and for the state’s attorney, which had recently closed an investigation into the abuse stories. Now they had to start a new inquiry, establish the identities of the deceased and the manner of death, and there was no telling when the whole damned place could be razed, cleared, and neatly erased from history, which everyone agreed was long overdue." The Nickel Boys

The story of one of the victims of a 1960s Jim Crow reform school for boys. Fiction based on a real school in Florida. Story arc is depressingly predictable but offers some surprises. A timely contribution to today's Black Lives Matter movement.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Richardson Police Policies

In response to attention placed on local police nationwide since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Richardson Police Department (RPD) Chief Jim Spivey was asked to brief the Richardson City Council on the department's policies, training practices, community engagement, and transparency initiatives. The briefing took almost two and a half hours. Here are my takeaways.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Space Force (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Space Force (TV 2020): Think Get Smart but with fewer laughs and even less bite. Not even "POTUS" will be offended. Steve Carell plays, well, Maxwell Smart. Or Michael Scott. Lisa Kudrow is wasted in a subplot that makes no sense. John Malkovich tries but can't save this. C-

Monday, June 22, 2020

Les Misérables (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Les Misérables (2019): French. Abusive cops patrol a Paris housing complex full of racial and class anger ready to boil. Theft of a lion cub sets it off. Audience learns the ropes through the eyes of the new cop on the team. Plot-driven, not character-driven, but what a plot. A-

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What Not to Say

Last week, I pointed to a statement by Richardson Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Sproull as an example of what to say in response to all the tragedies experienced by our country in the last days and months. He used plain language. He was direct. He named the problem. Today, I want to highlight a statement by someone else that exemplifies the things not to say.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review: Brief Answers to the Big Questions

From Brief Answers to the Big Questions, by Stephen Hawking:

Open quoteThe obvious next step would be to combine general relativity—the theory of the very large—with quantum theory—the theory of the very small. In particular, I wondered, can one have atoms in which the nucleus is a tiny primordial black hole." Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Don't have time to learn quantum mechanics? Read this instead. It's short. Accessible. Still deep. Stephen Hawking talks about the beginning and end of the universe, life, artificial intelligence, time travel, space colonization, and more. A-

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Garden & Gun

When my family was young, we used to play a game when we were driving on cross-country car trips. The game was called "McDonald's or Burger King?" I wasn't asking where we should stop to eat. Instead, I'd point out a store name and we'd discuss how good of a name it was for a business. For example, which name is better for selling burgers? Burger King is a great name for that. Which name is better if a burger place wanted to expand into, say, selling sausage biscuits for breakfast? The name Burger King was a handicap for that. McDonald's was the unanimous choice for almost any kind of business expansion we could imagine. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, etc., were all so limiting. But McDonald's is a nondescript name that could work with any business the company might want to get into, anywhere in the world. It doesn't even have to be fast food.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Vast of Night (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Vast of Night (2020): New Mexico, 1959. Switchboard operator and radio DJ investigate mysterious staticky humming. Movie doesn't bring anything new to 1950s sci-fi, but it has the look and feel of that era down cold, even including a Twilight Zone vibe. Love the dialog. C+

Monday, June 15, 2020

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Da 5 Bloods (2020): Spike Lee. Four war vets return to Vietnam to retrieve the remains of their fallen leader...and gold. Part history lesson, part action movie, and part study of PTSD. Implausible plot. Characters either stereotypes or cartoons. MAGA? Too much going on here. B-

Saturday, June 13, 2020

"Prejudice and Privilege Exist in Richardson"

The best local statement on recent events was made by Bill Sproull, Chairman/CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. Here is an excerpt.
We are horrified by the murder of George Floyd specifically and send our condolences to his family.
We support peaceful protesters and absolutely believe #BlackLivesMatter
Prejudice and privilege exist in Richardson. It absolutely does.
It's short and to the point.
He names the victim.
He calls murder, murder.
He supports peaceful protest.
He says the three simple words, "Black Lives Matter."
He admits racism still exists in Richardson.

That's how it should be done. And it comes from the Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Book Review: Disappearing Earth

From Disappearing Earth, by Julia Phillips:

Open quoteZavoyko was kilometers past all that, making it the last district of their city, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the last bit of land before sea. “It was at the edge of the cliff where the ocean meets the bay.”” Disappearing Earth

A whodunnit about the disappearance of two girls in Kamchatka. But more a collection of vignettes of women of Kamchatka. Each character is fully fleshed out and not just someone to advance the plot. It's also the story of a place previously foreign to me.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

POTD: Tomb of Ptahhotep

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Tomb of Ptahhotep. It's near the step pyramid of Saqqara outside modern Cairo. It's connected to the tomb of his father, Akhethotep. Neither were pharaohs, but nobles. They were both named as "Chief Justice and Vizier". What makes their tombs unique is the artwork featuring, not gods and coronations and warfare, as in the tombs of pharaohs, but images of agriculture, fishing, and herding.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Racism Has No Place in Our City

At Monday's Richardson City Council meeting, the council approved unanimously a statement condemning racism. It would have been inspiring...if it didn't have a pro forma feel to it. It came across as a tad defensive. More of a PR exercise than a heartfelt examination of our civic soul.

To see what I'm getting at, read these two statements and see if you can tell which one is from the City of Richardson (from this week) and which one is from the City of Minneapolis (from 2017).
What we look like and where we come from should not determine the benefits, burdens, or responsibilities we bear in our society...We see inequality based on race, gender, and other social characteristics as not only unfortunate but unjust.
Source: Race & Equity.
We stand together in our commitment to justice, peace, kindness and understanding, in order to be the best possible civil servants we can be. We also hold dear the position that [our] municipal government is here to serve everyone, no matter who they are.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

One of Us (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes
One of Us (2017): Documentary about three who leave the Hasidic community in Brooklyn. Young mother's story is heartbreaking. When peer pressure fails, a biased family court awards her children to her abusive husband because she left the community. Tradition? Infuriating! B+

Monday, June 8, 2020

Unorthodox (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Unorthodox (TV 2020): Young wife flees her Hasidic community in NY. Her husband tracks her to Berlin where she's hoping to make a new life in music. Powerful portrayal of feeling trapped by people who love you, even if they don't try to understand you. Unhappiness all around. B+

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Cruelty is the Point

I saw the Twitter thread of police violence. I saw the old guy with the cane getting shoved down. I saw the old guy without a cane getting shoved down. I saw too many young people getting shoved down, maced and gassed, beaten with batons, shot with "non-lethal" bullets and beaten when on the ground.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Black Lives Matter

The coronavirus is still out there. I've been quarantined for almost three months, leaving the house only for trips to the grocery store and walks in my neighborhood. Marching in a crowd is crazy risky, given my at-risk demographic. Yet three words made me feel that it was my civic duty to march. Black Lives Matter. Those three words brought out about 750 other people to a march and rally at Richardson City Hall Saturday. I strapped on my face mask and marched with them. Because Black Lives Matter.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Babylon Berlin - Season 1 (TV 2018)

Babylon Berlin - Season 1 (TV 2018): German. Berlin 1929 is gritty, decadent, corrupt. Socialists, Fascists, WWI vets, vice squad and homicide. A policeman from Cologne gets drawn into several convoluted plotlines. Weimar noir. An early long musical club scene is mesmerizing. B+

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Say His Name. Which One?

I haven't protested since Nixon and the Vietnam War. That was fifty years ago this fall. Trump's war on protesters was the thing to finally get me up off my couch and back into the streets. I attended Wednesday's rally and march for justice for George Floyd at Berkner Park in Richardson organized by Berkner High School students. I was with about 500 others. Most attendees looked to be students or recent graduates. There were a number of young parents from the neighborhood with toddlers in strollers or wagons. And then there were three or four geezers like me. Reporters from Community Impact newspaper were there. I saw a van from CBS 11 but didn't see if they were taking video.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

White Privilege

Of course I know I'm a beneficiary of white privilege. Of course. But it's so ingrained that I'm not aware of it every moment of every day. That itself is a benefit of white privilege.

Occasionally I come across an example of how I benefit, an example I was only dimly aware of. Like this offhand remark in Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Nickel Boys." An African-American goes into a restaurant and the hostess doesn't seat him immediately. Whitehead writes, "She pretended not to see him and he started up a round of 'Racism or Bad Service?'"

I suspect that's a game played every day by people of color. Not only haven't I ever had to play myself, I had never even heard of the game. That's white privilege. So of course I'm a beneficiary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Becoming (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Becoming (2020): Michelle Obama's book. Flattering documentary offers a bit of biography and a lot of book tour, with packed arenas with sit-down interviews with celebrity moderators. Best part is inspiring, smaller Q&As with young people. Not a campaign ad but just as slick. C+

Monday, June 1, 2020

Random Thoughts: Former Mayor Gets New Bribery Trial

Tweets from May, 2020:
  • 2020-05-02: Former Mayor Laura Maczka of Richardson Gets New Bribery Trial After Court Officer Spoke to Juror
  • 2020-05-02: Trump cares more about Kim Jong Un's health than Mitt Romney's. "Romney's in isolation? Gee, that's too bad," the president said. Asked if there was any sarcasm in his remarks, Trump said, "None whatsoever." Which suggests Trump *doesn't* understand sarcasm.
  • 2020-05-04: Cold War (2018): Poland. Three Oscar noms. Arty. Ill-fated love story set in post-war Europe, mostly Poland and Paris. Beautiful B&W cinematography evocative of the times. Characters can find passion but can't find happiness with each other. Why not is a recurring mystery. A-
  • 2020-05-05: Pete Sessions has spent $80,000 on legal fees to a criminal defense attorney, and they began in October, the same month his name surfaced in the Ukraine scandal that led to President Donald Trump's impeachment. Why would Waco want to buy this trouble?
  • 2020-05-05: Irony is dead: "Trump does not wear coronavirus mask at Honeywell factory that makes masks"

After the jump, more random thoughts.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Book Review: The Need

From The Need, by Helen Phillips:

Open quoteHer desperation for her children’s silence manifested as a suffocating force, the desire for a pillow, a pair of thick socks, anything she could shove into them to perfect their muteness and save their lives."
The Need: Stories

Molly, young mother of two, hears an intruder's footsteps. Molly, paleobotanist, discovers very odd objects in a dig. Is it a sci-fi novel about parallel universes? Is it a psychological thriller about the anxieties of motherhood? Mostly the latter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

POTD: Pyramid of Djoser

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Step Pyramid of Djoser, near modern Cairo. Dating to the 27th century BCE, it predates the more famous pyramids at Giza by a century. "Djoser's step pyramid is astounding in its departure from previous architecture. It sets several important precedents, perhaps the most important of which is its status as the first monumental structure made of stone."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Lovebirds (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Lovebirds (2020): Rom-com plays more like a buddy cop comedy. Chemistry and banter between Nanjiani and Rae are worth watching as they investigate a crime to keep from being arrested themselvs. Silly plot played silly but just seriously enough to overlook its silliness. B+

Monday, May 25, 2020

Country Meadow Duck Pond

For the last couple of years, I have tried to get the City of Richardson to do something about the standing water in the street in front of my house. So far no luck. In summer it breeds mosquitoes. In winter it's a slip-and-slide ice rink. I've reported it via the "My Richardson" app; my report disappeared from the list of open issues; no work was ever done. I was told that the issue is "closed" when it's passed on to the appropriate city department. Not when it's actually resolved, just when the buck has been passed to someone else. So maybe my issue is sitting somewhere in the system and will be addressed by someone, sometime. Or not. There's no way to tell from the app. In the meantime, the ducks seem to be enjoying themselves on my city-owned and unmaintained duck pond. So there's that.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

"Texas Woman Accused in Beating of State’s Former Lieutenant Governor"
The headline says "Texas Woman Accused in Beating of State’s Former Lieutenant Governor." If that made you think of Stefani Carter, you should be ashamed of yourself. Either that or you know way too many details about the inside baseball of Texas politics. The woman in the headline is Leslie Ann Caron. If that made you think of Leslie Caron the movie star, well you'd be wrong again. But it would prove you don't know way too much about the inside baseball of Texas politics. Our woman of interest, arrested for "injury to an elderly person" (ouch), is Leslie Ann Caron, a political fundraiser. There is a connection to our Stefani Carter. Patience. We'll get to it.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Upload (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Upload (TV 2020): On death, people choose to upload their consciousness to a CGI afterlife. Much of this explores what that's like (not always smartly), but there's also a love story and even a murder mystery. Still, writers didn't have enough material for a whole season. C+

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Edge of Democracy (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
The Edge of Democracy (2019): How Brazil's fragile democracy was overthrown "legally" by right wing authoritarians. I thought this stuff happened in "banana republics," not in America, but the same script is now playing out here. Constitutions can be subverted everywhere. B+

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Who Wore It Better?

Who wore it better?

On the left is the new sculpture "Flow" designed by RE:site Studio and installed at Richardson's new Fire Station #3 at the corner of Lookout and Custer. It mimics water shooting out of a vintage brass fire hose nozzle.

On the right is one sculpture of a four piece collection, "Shuttlecocks" by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. It mimics, well, a shuttlecock.

Who wore it better?

Monday, May 18, 2020

SARS and Me

I want to offer some exculpatory information about China's role in the COVID-19 pandemic. And point a finger back at ourselves— collectively. We are guilty of ignoring warning signs that have been flashing for years. Let's start with SARS. Bear with me. Eventually, I'll get to the "...and Me" part of the story and the excuse I have for talking about a global issue on a personal blog at all. Hint: it's related to that photo.

Friday, May 15, 2020

POTD: Sphinx Wannabe

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the ruins of Memphis, one of the capitals of ancient Egypt, just south of present-day Cairo. The Sphinx here (which is not the famous Sphinx of Giza) is one of the few intact artifacts on display at the site. The dog is just a modern-day Sphinx wannabe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Review: This Tender Land

From This Tender Land, by William Kent Krueger:
Open quote The tale I'm going to tell is of a summer long ago. Of killing and kidnapping and children pursued by demons of a thousand names. There will be courage in this story and cowardice. There will be love and betrayal. And, of course, there will be hope. In the end, isn't that what every good story is about?"
This Tender Land: Stories
"This Tender Land" is the 2020 selection for "Richardson Reads One Book."

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

POTD: Don't Touch Your Nose

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Don't touch your nose. You can spread the novel coronavirus that way. Don't touch Pharaoh Ramsses II's nose. You might spread ancient viruses that way. This has been a public service announcement. Today's photo-of-the-day is from the ruins of Memphis, one of the capitals of ancient Egypt, just south of present-day Cairo.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Making the Cut (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Making the Cut (TV 2020): Tim & Heidi's successor to Project Runway, worse in every way. Contestants are experienced, not new designers. They get seamstress help. Emphasis is on selling on Amazon and building a "global brand." Runway fashion is unrewarded. Auf wiedersehen. C-

Friday, May 8, 2020

Planet of the Humans (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Planet of the Humans (2020): Michael Moore's takedown of environmental movement, rejecting solar, wind and biomass because they aren't 100% clean. Also pissed that capitalism finds ways to profit and big environmentalists can be hypocrites. The movie's solution: depopulation. C-

Thursday, May 7, 2020

POTD: Don't Touch Your Face

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Don't touch your face. But it's OK to touch the Sphinx's face. Or it was in November when foreign travel was still free and easy. Good times. Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Great Sphinx of Giza. "The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the pharaoh Khafre," whose pyramid is nearby.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

American Factory (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
American Factory (2019): Former GM plant in Ohio reopens as Chinese-owned auto glass factory. Cinema verité documentary. It's crazy that Chinese owners allowed cameras fly-on-the-wall access. Culture clash in America's heartland is sharp and unsettling. You feel for workers. A-

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Contaminated Groundwater in Richardson

This agenda item for the Richardson City Council caught my eye:
City staff will review the process for consideration of a Municipal Settings Designation [MSD] for a commercial property near Coit Road and Arapaho Road. A Municipal Settings Designation is an official state designation within a municipality that certifies that designated groundwater at the property is not used as potable water and is prohibited from future use as potable water.
Why wouldn't you want to use groundwater as potable water?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Cold War (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes
Cold War (2018): Poland. Three Oscar noms. Arty. Ill-fated love story set in post-war Europe, mostly Poland and Paris. Beautiful B&W cinematography evocative of the times. Characters can find passion but can't find happiness with each other. Why not is a recurring mystery. A-

Friday, May 1, 2020

Random Thoughts: Trump is a Snake Whisperer

Tweets from April, 2020:
  • 2020-04-01: "Trump is a snake whisperer." -- Edward Countryman.
    What a great addition to the political dictionary, alongside "dog whistle."
  • 2020-04-01: A tradition in American journalism is that the reporter must not become the story. It's impossible to live up to that at a televised Presidential press conference. Trump thrives on his insulting interactions. One solution? Stay away. Don't let Trump make you a part of his shtick.
  • 2020-04-02: Yesterday was Census Day. Forgot to fill it out for your household? Not to worry. Do it today. It still counts. You still get credit. And so does your community.
  • 2020-04-02: Those toilet paper shortages probably are caused less by panic buying and hoarding than by our economy's fine-tuned supply chains being unable to rapidly adjust to the new normal.

After the jump, more random thoughts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

POTD: Giza Pyramid Complex

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Giza Pyramid Complex in Cairo. Our visit in November, 2019, allowed "L" to check off the seventh and final item on the "bucket list" that she compiled in high school.

Bonus photos after the jump.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tapping the Paycheck Protection Program for $126M

Braemar Rings Opening Bell on NYSE (Stefani Carter on left)

You may remember Stefani Carter. The former Texas state representative for parts of Richardson, swept into office in the 2010 tea party wave. The ambitious politician who attempted to climb to statewide office (Texas Railroad Commission) in 2014 only to discover that the moneyed interests had other candidates in mind. Who scrambled back to her legislative race in north Texas but lost her seat anyway when even GOP voters abandoned her for Linda Koop. All that was covered by The Wheel back in the day. Well, Stefani Carter is back in the news, or at least her business is.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Horse Girl (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Horse Girl (2020): Lonely woman sleep walks, hears voices, and has surreal delusions in a descent into mental illness, but it's all her truth. Part dark comedy, part thriller, but mostly psychological character study. Based on family history of Alison Brie, who shines. C+

Friday, April 24, 2020

POTD: 2560 BC

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was built as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu in 2560 BCE. Try to wrap your mind around that. That's 4,580 years ago. Or 54,960 month-long stay-at-home quarantines strung back to back. That's what's called an unhelpful analogy. Not only doesn't it really help you grasp just how old that tomb is, but it doesn't make your current spell of being housebound feel any better either. By the way, pharaoh Khufu himself left his tomb no one knows how long ago. They say grave robbers. I suspect cabin fever.

Bonus photo after the jump.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

COVID-19: Financial Impact on Richardson

Everyone's attention has been rightly focused on the health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the City of Richardson, which has put public health at the top of its list of priorities. The question of "Who's in Charge?" has gradually settled on the answer, Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The City of Richardson will not enforce any provision in the City's own March 23, 2020 Order that is inconsistent with the Governor's Executive Orders GA 15, 16 and 17. With the Governor in the driver's seat on the pandemic response, the City can start giving some attention to the impact COVID-19 will have on other City matters, particularly the City's finances.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Code 8 (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes
Code 8 (2019): In a future of people with super powers, we still don't have universal health insurance, so our hero pays for his sick mother's treatment with a $10m drug heist. If you're going to make sci-fi on a small budget, you need fresh ideas, not a mishmash of old ones. D+

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

POTD: Gezirah Palace in Cairo

From 2019 11 17 Ancient Cairo

Today's photo-of-the-day is from outside the entrance to the Cairo Marriott Hotel, on an island in the Nile River, originally constructed as the Gezirah Palace in 1869 for the Khedive Isma'il Pasha. We stayed there in November of 2019, which was only five months ago, but it seems like five millennia ago (but more of that in later posts). Good times.

Bonus photo after the jump, of the patio restaurant in the back of the hotel.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Blow the Man Down (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Blow the Man Down (2020): A small fishing village in Maine is the setting for a murder mystery, or two. Great characters, all deserving more screen time. You can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, as the plot unfolds or even after. Just how a great whodunnit should be. A-

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tales from the Loop (TV 2020)

Rotten Tomatoes
Tales from the Loop (TV 2020): Sci-fi with less focus on the science and more on the characters, lots of them kids, who live naturally in a world of time travel, parallel universes, robots, and machinery with a 1980s retro futuristic tech feel. Stories are slow but charming. B-

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

POTD: The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

From 2019 10 10 State Fair of Texas

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the State Fair of Texas. It just looks hopeful somehow. Despite the rain, with proper precautions we can remain dry until the sun comes out, which it will.